HOUSTON – Passengers told a jury Wednesday they don't believe that the wife of renowned TV pastor Joel Osteen assaulted a flight attendant.
Continental Airlines flight attendant Sharon Brown claims in her lawsuit that Victoria Osteen began yelling at her, then threw her against a bathroom door and elbowed her when a spill on the armrest of her first-class seat wasn't quickly cleaned up.
But three passengers on the plane testified Wednesday that they were sitting in the first-class section and that they never heard or saw anything that would have indicated Victoria Osteen assaulted the flight attendant.
The alleged incident happened before the start of a 2005 flight from Houston to Vail, Colorado.
Brown is asking for an apology and 10 percent of the net worth of Victoria Osteen, the co-pastor of Houston's famed Lakewood Church.
Testimony revealed that Brown, who took the stand Tuesday and continued testifying Wednesday morning, once described Osteen as "the devil" and his megachurch as "a cult."
But Brown told jurors Tuesday during testimony in her civil lawsuit that her perceptions about Joel Osteen and his church have since changed.
"I was talking out of context. I don't know their church, never been to their church," Brown said about her remarks, made in a deposition in July 2007.
Brown's spent most of Tuesday being questioned by Victoria Osteen's attorney.
Initially called to testify by her attorney, Reginald McKamie, Brown detailed for jurors how she remained calm and courteous as she tried to assure Victoria Osteen that a spill on the armrest of her first-class seat would be cleaned up before the start of a 2005 flight from Houston to Vail, Colo.
That's when Victoria Osteen, co-pastor of Houston's popular Lakewood Church, assaulted her, Brown testified.
"I looked in her eyes and realized she was looking at the cockpit. I positioned myself in front of the cockpit," Brown said. "I still was trying to understand what was going on because it happened so quick. My main concern was I wasn't going to let this lady in the cockpit."
Victoria Osteen's attorney, Rusty Hardin, tried to cast doubt that an assault ever took place.
"Can you look into my eyes and tell me where I am going to go?" Hardin, referencing Brown's earlier statement about looking into Victoria Osteen's eyes, said as people in the courtroom laughed.
Hardin's questioning of Brown got intense enough that state District Judge Patricia Hancock several times warned both not to speak over each other.
Hardin also tried to poke holes in Brown's allegation that suffered any physical or mental injuries from the alleged attack, as she has claimed in her lawsuit. Brown admitted that doctors found no physical injuries on her.
Brown said that after the attack, she could not work for five days.
"How is it you were totally incapacitated for those five days?" Hardin said.
"I was stressed, had a lot of anxiety," she responded.
Both Victoria Osteen and Joel Osteen, who was on the same flight, testified last week that no attack took place.
The couple are co-pastors of Houston's Lakewood Church, which draws about 42,000 people each week for services. Joel Osteen's weekly television address is broadcast in the U.S. and internationally and his books are sold around the globe.
The Osteens testified the only reason they paid a $3,000 fine the Federal Aviation Administration levied against Victoria Osteen for interfering with a crew member was to put the incident behind them.
In a videotaped deposition shown to jurors earlier Tuesday, Bill Burnett, the plane's captain, said he hadn't been aware of the alleged attack.